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602 Indians arrive from Lebanon

Last updated on: July 22, 2006 02:28 IST

A special Air India Boeing flight, carrying 261 Indians from trouble-torn Lebanon, on Friday night landed in Mumbai from Cyprus.

Altogether 602 Indians were on Friday airlifted back home from Larnaca in Cyprus after their evacuation from Lebanon and 400 more were awaiting a chance to leave the trouble-torn country at the earliest.

Soon after the evacuees reached Larnaca from Beirut by naval warship INS Mumbai on Friday morning, they were put on board two special Air India planes to be brought to Mumbai and Chennai. The plane landed at the Mumbai airport at around 11.05 pm.

"The last two weeks have been a nightmare for me. I never witnessed such destruction in my life. I am very safe to be back to my own land and thankful to the government of India," said Vijay Kumar, an electrician from Delhi who left the country for greener pastures just a month ago, after landing at the Mumbai airport.

Among the Indians who returned home on Friday, mostly hail from the northern part of the country and were employed as electricians and crane-operators in Lebnanon.

"The situation there is very bad. World bodies must interfere to stop the violence there. Or else, that land will be completely wiped off," said Joginder Singh, a mechanic from Punjab who had been working abroad for over 12 years.

"It was the saddest moment of my life as I had to leave the friends I had worked with for more than a decade. I do not know when I will return or if I will be able to meet them or not. I just pray to God to end this war," he told PTI after landing.

Meanwhile, Air India spokesperson Jitender Bhargava said there were about 12,000 Indians stranded in Lebanon.

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